Updated: Dec 24, 2019
Band of brothers serenades Shillong
By Prasanta Phukon
For The Main Serenade , music is a divine calling. The Christian gospel contemporary band from Shillong believes that “He does lead the way and He helps those who help themselves”.
The three members — brothers MarkAddison and Andrew Wilson Massar and PanborlangToi — started their journey playing together in the Presbyterian Church at Mawlai - Phudmuri. “For us, everything started in that church that paved our way to become a band of basically three brothers,” said 26-year-old Mark, who is the vocalist. He recently finished his masters in music. Andrew is the guitarist and the youngest member, Panborlang, is the drummer.
The band has written and composed many songs among which 'Sing like them' is the most popular. “We believe that is our best creation so far. That which has inspired us to write the song is very personal to us. It is just a clear message of what God has spoken to us to tell the world through our music,” said the 25-year-old guitarist who has completed graduation. This song gave the band a broader platform in the local music industry and the members got the opportunity to perform on big stages like Lifest. They were also featured in RedFM and CBN. “We are grateful for all these achievements,” the members said.
All the three members were brought up in that church. The trio has been deeply inspired by artistes like John Steingard, Jordan Feliz and Toby Mac. “ Chris August is one of our all-time favourite Christian artistes. We would love to collaborate with him. However, that’s just a way up there but we can always dream right,” 20-year-old Panborlang already sounded excited about such an opportunity. He is in his fifth semester of Mass Communications at St Anthony’s College.
When asked about the name of the band and what is so special about it, the members said it came quite randomly. “It was just a couple of friends playing around with names and eventually they got this one for our band,” said Andrew. The young band members are planning an album but are finding it difficult to get a proper recording studio. They usually record songs at home and “it is impossible to do everything at home without a proper space”. As they talked about their problems, they said they are sure God will help them in tiding over all crises. The talented musicians want to dedicate all their time to music but livelihood is a problem for young performers like them. Mark and Andrew have jobs and Panborlang is a part-time photographer. The members are also into videography and production.
“Making it as musicians in Shillong is not sufficient enough to provide for our everyday needs but we wish that music becomes our full-time career,” they said in unison. But for the journey so far, they thanked all the well-wishers and fans on social media for supporting them and they feel they are blessed. “Everyone motivates us to do better and we are just incredibly happy that we have the opportunity to showcase the talent that God has given to each one of us,” said Mark, adding that the social media platforms have helped them in reaching out to more listeners and viewers.
When asked about other genres of music, particularly rock, and their popularity in the city, the members said they don’t have much idea about it. “We cannot comment on whether rock music is losing its fan following in Shillong but we think there will always be fans for rock here,” they said. For someone who wants to start a gospel band, the only advice that the Serenades have is, “Work hard and put God first in everything that they do... He does lead the way and He helps those who help themselves. So, with hard work and dedication, success will always follow.” On the road ahead, the Serenades said there is always room for improvement for everybody. “We will never be perfect at what we do but we can always try. Practice makes everything perfect and that’s one main thing that we can do to improve our capabilities… with hard work and dedication, success will always follow… Our journey has been a blessing, really. We love praising God who deserves to be praised at all times. Doing it with your brothers is one of the joyful things. In future, we hope and pray that we will still be doing what we do because it genuinely makes us happy,” said Andrew. Photo courtesy: The Main Serenade